Program Ethnomathematics

The term ethnomathematics was coined by Ubiratan D’Ambrosio (2007) to recognize two distinct areas of mathematical literacy: school mathematics and the mathematics practices of a given cultural group. The latter places value on students’ knowledge of mathematics transmitted by the community before they come to school and thus challenges “deficit” models used by some in dealings with minority cultures. His research on the concept of a curriculum to embrace ethnomathematics, called Program Ethnomathematics, specifies, “To build a civilization that rejects inequity, arrogance, and bigotry, education must give special attention to the redemption of peoples that have been, for a long time, subordinated and must give priority to the empowerment of the excluded sectors of societies” (29). According to Gutierrez and Irving (2012), a huge benefit of integrating ethnomath- ematics in the curriculum is in helping students connect their personal identities to mathematical ones so that they come to see themselves as having a math brain and thus become members of the mathematics community who engage in productive struggle when confronted with a novel situation (8).

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